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Call of Duty Lawsuit Heating Up

Court approves Activision's motion, EA added to West/Zampella suit.

January 21, 2011
Activision continues to build evidence as it accused publishing rival Electronic Arts of conspiring with former Infinity Ward executives to sabotage the Call of Duty franchise.

In a new amended cross-complaint obtained by IGN, the publisher alleges EA asked Jason West and Vince Zampella, who at the time were both still under contract with Activision, purposely held back releasing the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Map Pack so Battlefield: Bad Company 2's release would see no competition.

In the complaint, Activision posted a private e-mail from March 2, 2010 between EA's global director Lincoln Hershberger and other EA executives.

"A couple months ago, I asked Vince [Zampella] to hold back their map pack until after we launched (he owes me one)," the e-mail read. "Given that they've already made a billion, he was cool with that, obviously [Bobby] Kotick took it as being belligerent."

Bad Company 2 was released on March 2, 2010 while the Stimulus Package was out weeks later on March 30.

In December, Activision filed a motion to have Electronic Arts added to the Infinity Ward lawsuit between West and Zampella as a cross-defendant. The court granted Activision's wishes.

The publisher believes that prior to joining EA and forming Respawn Entertainment, West and Zampella were out to "derail Activision's Call of Duty franchise, disrupt its Infinity Ward development studio, and inflict serious harm on the company."

"We have taken this difficult, but necessary, step to protect our rights and intellectual property," an Activision spokesperson said in response to the complaint.

"We acted only after we determined during discovery the illegal conduct by Electronic Arts and we look forward to making our case in a court of law."

Electronic Arts spokesperson Jeff Brown replied saying the e-mail was a joke.

"This was obviously sarcasm," Brown said in a statement. "It's clear from the email this was a joke and they never spoke. We explained this to lawyers at Activision – who apparently don't have much of a sense of humor."

A trial date is currently set for May 23, 2011.

©2011-01-21, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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